The American filmmaker Robert Eggers has had quite the career. His 2015 debut feature, The Witch, followed a group of New England pilgrims as they are harangued (and worse) by a mystical force in the nearby forest.
Then, he went full-on madballs with the Beckettian absurdo-horror, The Lighthouse, in which Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe bicker (and worse) as the keepers of a storm-lashed lighthouse. At that point we pondered: where could Eggers go next? Maybe double down on his love of historical esoterica? Or maybe level up with something tooled for a bigger audience.
The answer we got is that he did both: The Northman is an intricately-designed revenge epic concerning the must-win mission of a Viking princling-turned-berserker who vows to avenge the murder of his beloved father. It’s a film that will finally send actor Alexander Skarsgård into the stratosphere, as it charts his Hamlet-esque descent into a raging marauder whose desire to commit symbolic murder cannot be quenched by any other means.
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Not only is this issue a celebration of Eggers and his stellar work inside the Hollywood system, but we also look at the concept of originality when it comes to cinematic storytelling and art in general. In this world of prequels, sequels, franchise-extensions and reboots, is there still room for movies that don’t come with their own existing IP fanbase? This is an issue dedicated to all the artists who sing by his or her own hymn sheet.
On the cover
We were thrilled to invite Brooklyn-based artist Colin Verdi to illustrate our cover, and his digital work drew inspiration from real artifacts found in the National Museum of Iceland.
Illustrators inside the issue include Laurène Boglio, Emma Balebela, Michael Dunbabin, Tavo Montañez, Stephanie Sergeant, Stefano Summo and Martha Addy.
In this issue
Reading the Runes
In anticipation of Robert Eggers’ The Northman, Tom Huddleston offers a potted history of the Viking movie genre.
Encounter at the End of the World
Robert Eggers, co-writer and director of The Northman, discusses his idiosyncratic Viking epic.
Sword of Destiny
Hannah Strong meets newly-minted leading man Alexander Skarsgård ahead of his muscular turn in The Northman.
In praise of the great Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson – always on-call to play characters from olden times.
Here Comes the Lilt Man
Mark Asch is in conversation with Brendan Gunn, an Irish linguist who also works as an accent coach to the great and good of Hollywood.
The top 50 films of the new millennium – not based on existing intellectual property, and as chosen by LWLies contributors.
In our regular column on clothes and movies, Christina Newland looks at on- screen representations of animal pelts and furs.